ZOX 20 Diary
This page details how I came to buy my ZOX 20 Z-frame and what
modifications etc. I have made to it.
Or << Back to ZOX 20 introduction page
August 2012: essentially replace by Vortex trike !!
ICE Vortex 2012
But hanging onto Zox in case I change my mind. I would also like to
try the plugin rear trike
end ! (either the official one or a homemade one: maybe narrower
and tucked more behind the rider (canted ?).
February 2012: rebirth
Move the parts back from the PDQ for a bike that is more fun/faster !!
Changes made since I last used the Zox (brought over from PDQ): short cranks, double chainring, new,
closer ratio, block. I have also now fitted a front mudguard and chose
not to refit a cycle computer. Also the plastic disk that covered the
driveside idler had warped, so I left it off (application of hot water
failed to remold it).
First ride impressions after rebuild (WIP):
- More fun, and more stable, than PDQ !
- A noticeably more 'closed' riding position.
- Handlebars: now with shorter (140mm) cranks fitted lower them to
provide a clean view to front, and lower hand position. After flipping
the stem then removign a spacer end up at bottom of adjustment (approx
4.5cm lower than with 170mm cranks). Could go lower and still have
clearance for legs. If I really want to I could probably shorten the
headtube to allow this.
- Also with shorter cranks: no heal clip on derailleur in top gear.
- GPS on downtube only just picks up signal: needs to be flatter.
After first ride fit my GPS on a Topeak BarXtender to give a flatter
position for better reception.
After 9.5 years move parts *back* to my Pashley PDQ for a more relaxing ride and a
bike that is more practical to ride to work before using on training
ride back home again.
Keep frame, seat, bits in case I change my mind/fancy a change !!
Fit Garmin Edge 305 using the supplied mount and zip-ties.
Seems to pickup the satellites OK, even with the less than optimal position (horizontal is recommended).
More cycling (not just commuting), Kett during week and Zox at weekend.
Final fit the Novosport "Sport mini" fibreglass Novosport Sport Mini tailbox bought in 2005 (see above).
Clean up, ride, 2 punctures, tyres bit rotten, fit new Conti 2000 TT tyres.
Finally got off the couch and have been out for a few rides on the Zox
in the last few weeks. Bit wobbly at first after a couple of years of
hardly riding it, but it is OK now and still great fun to ride :-))
However I felt I was a little too close to the pedals and the seat was
at the max. extent on the slide rails so I drilled 2 new holes in seat
base to move it back (still plenty of space between the seat back and
the rear wheel). Much better once I got used to it.
Not managed yet to fit the Novosport tailbox to the Flux wooden seat.
Bought a NovoSport "Sport mini" NovoSport
fibre-glass tailbox (1.6kg, 25l).
The weather is good and I have a need-for-speed :-)
It would be nice to solve the luggage carrying
problem (e.g tools, waterproof and spare top). Perhaps either a
NovoSport fibre-glass tailbox,
a new, lighter wooden tailbox, or the foam tailbox reinforced with wood for shape.
And I think I will move the seat back to it's more upright position.
May 2001 to April 2003
No entries here partly because I have not been riding the ZOX much :-)
I still love the bike and have no desire to replace it but at the moment it
does not really fit in well with my lifestyle with a young family.
I know that I could make the time to cycle more for "fun", especially
on my preferred riding time of Sunday mornings, but other things are taking priority.
But I am still riding recumbents every day - just more practical ones !!, e.g
my Flux V220 and Hase Kettwiesel
trike, one of which I use each day often with a child-trailer, and I enjoy riding them !!
July 2002 - Wooden tailbox
- I never got round to testing it yet (!!) - partly because I never really solved
how to hold the lid on - and after weighing it, and looking at it I lost enthusiasm :-(
Conclusions on wooden tailbox:
- Very strong.
- Ugly !!
- Next ? - see below
1st May 2001 - First test ride with foam tailbox
- Quiet and light.
- I never really solved the problem of how to actually store stuff inside
and close the lid so this is not working too well!!.
- One ride does not a record make; but I reached my fastest time yet on my standard
downhill (no noticeable tailwind) at 46.3mph / 74kph (last highest was 45.0mph / 72kph).
Conclusions on foam tailbox:
- Foam is good for a racing tailbox (i.e. requirements are light weight
and no need to carry luggage).
- Started planning Tailbox #2 out of wood.
Not much riding on the ZOX; thought again about buying
a home-trainer but could not decide on a roller (good for improving balance)
or a mag. trainer.
But I spent plenty of time in the cellar working
out how to build a tailbox from a cheap camping foam mat and some bits
of aluminium, some zip-ties and some hot-glue.
Also I fitted a better mounting block under the seat
(see photo). (The seat base is shaped
to curve upwards from to back to stop the rider sliding forwards. But my
ZOX came with a rectangular section mounting block so as you tightened
the mounting screws it pulled the seat base down towards horizontal.)
So I made a new block from
plain wood to hold the seat in its' natural position and I am very pleased
with the result. But it is not yet weather proof.
Now I have found the best handlebars position fit a fixed angle stem.
Gave up on finding Coroplast and bought a foam camping mat with which to
build a rear tailbox. Also collect various bits of wood, aluminium, clips
and brackets and lots of drawings but no results yet; partly because I
an still playing with the seating position.
Move seat back to more reclined position. This of course messed up my careful
positioning of the handlebars :-( so I bought another stem.
Oh yeah: and I rode it a bit as well (difficult with a young family, winter
setting in). Perhaps I should invest in a home-trainer for the winter !!
Seat is definitely getting more comfortable !! I have noticed that the
permanently shaping to my body.
- Out for rides when family / work allows.
- Seat moved forwards slightly.
- Add mudguards (Hebie)
fitted but not tested in the rain yet.
- Trying to track down a source of Coroplast substitute to make a tailbox.
- Fit new, lower fitting adjustable
stem; Ahead type with a quill adaptor because of the greater availability
in stems. I am still aiming for just leg clearance. When I am happy
with the reach and clearance I will probably fit a fixed angle, possible
quill stem (lighter and neater).
1st September 2000 - First ride with rain
Longer ride (36.4miles / 58.2km), more fast down-hills
but most memorable for the torrential thunderstorm on the way home.
- The combination of Lowracer, no mudguards and rain leaves a very wet rider.
At the back the rear wheel sprayed exactly onto my neck like a cold shower,
and at the front the wheel sprayed grit onto my lower legs. But the frame
itself kept the worst of it from spraying on to my front. And wheel spin
was quite easy starting from the lights !! So maybe mudguards are the next
accessory to get.
- Another discovery came the next day when I lifted the
front end to do some maintenance and water drained out of the main frame
tube where the rear fork tube enters. I then realised that without protection
water can easily get in there from rear wheel spray, and the main frame
tube then slopes DOWN towards the front
(side view photo shows this)
so the water stays in :-(
So I tied up the bike and blasted a load of WD40 down the tube !!
25th August 2000 - Next ride
Same short loop of 21miles / 33.6km after work (the Astrale
shows 21.85miles / 35km and I measured the actual wheel circumference
so I guess I had not calibrated my old Cateye Mity 2 correctly).
- Excellent fast ride, although difficult to compare with the PDQ.
Average was 14.5mph / 23.2kph, best on the PDQ was 14.2mph / 22.7kph
and I was not trying too hard today as I am still getting used to the bike.
So definite promise.
- Downhill freewheel speed on this loop; I normally make 30/35mph / 48/56kph
but today I touched 41.7mph / 66.7kph without any noticeable tail wind.
22th to 23th August 2000 - fine tuning
- Remove spacer from above headset and cut down fork by 26mm / 1inch in order to
lower handlebars enough (aiming for close leg clearance to optimise aerodynamics
and the view over the handlebars).
Fit old Cateye Astrale computer
from my junk box. I was happy to find a good method of mounting the cadence
sensor, often difficult on a recumbent and I never managed it
on my PDQ. The button sticking down ("1" in photo) is a handlebar end-plug screwed into
a boss under the boom tube around which the standard Cateye bracket ("3" in photo) fits.
(There are 2 bosses under the ZOX boom, presumably for fitting a front
fairing (60mm / 2.36inches apart).) The magnet ("2" in photo) is zip-tied over the
chainwheel bolt (the instructions say to put the magnet on the crank,
but on the chainwheel works fine for me).
15th August 2000 - First real ride
A short loop of 21miles / 33.6km after work, including town riding, up-hills
and some fast down-hills.
- Bike was excellent but it will require a bit of
practise before I feel comfortable with the different handling of this
bike. But it sure felt fast. I am sure that I was getting into a
higher gear quicker, and I definitely reached top gear more often than
on my Pashley PDQ.
- I had the feeling that I got more stares than on my PDQ (a definite
MINUS point for me). Children tended to laugh (it is nice to bring a little
cheer into someone's day, but it was not really the aim !!), others pointed
and/or stared, but my favourite is when people just ignore me !!
- Not sure about that wooden seat yet - had my first taste of
"recumbent butt" - never a problem on the PDQs mesh seat that can be
fine tuned to your body shape (but see update below). Maybe time to
experiment with some foam pads.
14th August 2000 - First test ride
Round the local park where I had learnt to ride my Pashley PDQ.
- This bike is fun to ride - more recumbent grin than the PDQ.
- Stopping - strange to be so close to the ground; I am used to
stretching down to the ground when I stop - it now feels like I have
to lift my foot to put it on the ground. I have not tried putting only
my hand down yet (instead of unclipping from the pedals).
10th August 2000 - Frameset arrives (2)
After delays (frame painters have summer holidays and then when the
frame was due to be shipped I was on holiday so it had to wait till I returned).
I got the frame, forks, rollers, seat, handlebars and stem from ZOX.
My Pashley PDQ
donated its wheels, transmission and brakes. No problems at all with
the assembly; although there are no instructions so you must work out for
yourself how the adjust the seat for distance and angle :-)
(After assembly I was interested to see that my 4 year old son could
easily sit on the seat, reach the handlebars and scoot forwards along the
13th? June 2000 - Frameset arrives
Unfortunately it was the wrong shape. This was when I learnt that the
frame styles page on the (pre-2001) ZOX web-site does not list all the
ZOX frame styles. The
frame designs are hand-drawn and I had assumed when ordering that "Frame style
A" was the lowracer; but I now learnt that it is not. What I needed was
the Z frame, so after a phone call to Sergio I posted the frameset back :-(
28th April to 5 May 2000 - Order ZOX 20 frameset
In the end I gave in to temptation and after much exchange of email I ordered a ZOX 20
frameset with rear suspension and a wooden seat (mainly because this is the
one that was on the SPEZI test bike). The idea was to use
my Pashley PDQ as a donor
bike to build up the ZOX.
17th April 2000 - Recumbent Grin
I still had that recumbent grin the next day - I had not gone to the
SPEZI with the intention of buying a new bike, but...
16th April 2000 - SPEZI test ride
is an annual exhibition of 'alternative' bikes in Germany.
I was not too
bothered about the indoor exhibition - what I wanted to do was try out
some other recumbents, and especially some lowracers. The organisers provide
a short circular test course, and a pit area. The idea is that you all
queue up, then a group of 20 (?) get to enter the pit area and try
out as many bikes as they want in the half hour. The popular bikes get
grabbed as soon as they enter the pit lane - others sit on the sidelines :-(
I tried quite a few bikes, including several lowracers and learnt;
- The single Greenspeed
trike supplied by German importers HP
Velotechnik seemed to be the most popular vehicle; I did not have
the patience to wait for it to be free.
- I do not like 'tiller' steering e.g. on
recumbents (I know, maybe I would get used to it!!) .
- I loved riding the ZOX 20 straight away :-)
I was impressed by the easy handling and loved the Lowracer feeling.
I like the idea of 406 wheels and the FWD seems to make sense on a lowracer.
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